I Know What the Red Clay Looks Like: The Voice and Vision of Black American Women Writers (Qty & Cn$ Are Paper)

Rebecca Carroll, Author
Rebecca Carroll, Author Clarkson N Potter Publishers $22.5 (246p) ISBN 978-0-517-59638-8
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
Hardcover - 246 pages - 978-0-517-88261-0
Hardcover - 978-0-517-17622-1
Hardcover - 978-0-517-28123-9
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Unlike other recent collections of work by African American women, Carroll sets her anthology apart by putting excerpts by June Jordan, Gloria Naylor, Lorene Cary and others into context with short biographies and interviews that asks why they write, what they write, who they write for and who were their major influences. Unfortunately, the questions tend to elicit very similar answers from each author save Rita Dove, who discusses her feelings about being Poet Laureate. Most others say they have loved writing and reading since they were very young, they tend to write autobiographically-even when writing fiction-and most were influenced by the likes of Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison. More interesting are the intimate discussion of the excerpt included: Nikki Giovanni explains how early on she wanted to write for people who didn't have a voice, which lends some insight into her poem about the strength and continuity of African women, ``Ego Tripping'' from The Women and the Men. J. California Cooper describes her decision to portray the destructiveness of drugs using a female character in ``Vanity'' from The Matter Is Life. ``It wasn't so much hard for me to write as it was hard for me to read. Consequently, I haven't read it but once.'' (Nov.)
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